So you’ve decided to take your first trip to Disney World? Let me be the first to congratulate you on one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make – vacationing at Walt Disney World is an amazing experience, and since it’s your first time, let me give you some tips on how to navigate the World (the DISNEY World that is!):
Research (but don’t overdo it!): There’s a LOT of information out there about the ins and outs of Walt Disney World – books, websites, web forums/discussion boards, DVD’s/planning videos – and a lot of it is really great and provides useful, helpful information about what you can expect when you arrive. Personally I like to purchase one new guidebook, and then stick to reputable planning websites (like Chip And Co!), and I try and stay away from forums or long lengthy reviews – and you should too, you’re looking to mostly get an overview of what rides/attractions and restaurants your family might like. Bottom line – do your research, but keep it basic
Pack Smart: No need to worry about dressing fancy at Walt Disney World – it’s a casual place, where jeans/shorts, t shirts, and sneakers are what you’ll see most people sporting – make sure you keep it loose and comfortable, as you’re going to be doing a lot of walking in a place that’s can get REALLY hot! I pick my broken in sneakers over the new ones, and I also like to bring along a hat, as well as sunscreen, water bottles and snacks (a great money saver!), and ponchos – for that unpredictable Florida weather. Read more on how to pack smart here
Be Realistic: This goes along with the “Don’t Over-Research” advice, in that planning is all well and good, but if you get caught up in research then you might start trying to plan every minute of every day – and that’s just not going to work out. There are a TON of things to do at Walt Disney World – so many that you could be there a whole week and not do them all – it’s just the way it is, make your peace with it now, and pick out a few “must-do” things and make sure you get fastpasses for them, and aside from planning which Parks to visit on which days, keep your itinerary loose and open for changes – that way you won’t be super stressed trying to run around and do it all – because who wants to be stressed – you’re on VACATION, after all!
Expand Your Culinary Horizons: Most of you have probably been to different Theme Parks before, so you might think you know what to expect when it comes to Dining at Disney – burgers, chicken fingers, fried snacks, ice cream, etc are what normally comes to mind for most people. While Disney offers all that, there is SO MUCH MORE to eat there than standard theme park/carnival fare. Sushi, steakhouses, fudge, amazing fresh baked goods, foods from around the world (like Germany, England, Morocco, and more!), sandwiches, snacks (popcorn, cookies, pretzels & ice cream bars shaped like Mickey)….I could go on and on – but the point is, there’s a LOT to offer, and it’s the perfect chance to try something new! One thing to note: Sit-down restaurants at WDW tend to fill up quickly, so when you do your research, make sure you pick out some possibilities and make your Advance Dining Reservations before your trip
Do At Least One Character Meal: Character Meals are the perfect way to enjoy a great meal while getting to mix and mingle with some great Disney characters. There are a bunch to choose from, but if you’ve never been, you might want to try Chef Mickey’s – where you can meet the “fab five” all in one place – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. Or if you have a Princess lover in your party, Cinderella’s Royal Table is the perfect spot to enjoy a royal meal with the Disney Princesses – plus, you get to dine INSIDE Cinderella’s Castle! A drawback to character meals is that they aren’t exactly quiet, relaxed dining experiences – it can get loud, rambunctious, and rowdy – but to me, that’s part of the fun! I highly recommend everyone try at least one character meal on their first trip – it will make for some great memories!
Hopefully you can take some of these tips and use them as you embark on your first WDW vacation – take it from me, these are worth looking into, and if you do – you’ll be an expert in no time!